My journey into teaching in Sydney

I emigrated to Sydney in 2005 from Malaysia. To be honest, I found myself in a completely new environment and went through a tough time getting adjusted to everything- be it living in a Unit/apartment, seasonal change, interacting with people from a diverse range of different cultural and religious background and many more hurdles that I had to go through while starting a new life here. I guess, this is the typical scenarios or experiences   of all migrants. I am not exceptional.

To make it short, I embraced these changes in a positive way and fulfilled my aim of getting a teaching qualification. At the same time, reminds me of the saying “when there is a will, there is a way”. My journey to achieve this dream was not easy, with many ups and downs, I obtained my first degree from Macquarie University and followed my dreams of entering into teaching. Obviously,at the beginning all seem to be too easy, but when I entered High School for my first teaching practicum, I realized, there are more intense challenges awaiting. My first practicum was such a disaster as I was given a school whereby, the teachers were unsupportive.  With too many commitments this practicum ended in disarray and I withdrew from it, citing family reasons and inability to cope with the demands of the lesson plans, classroom management, etc. On a second thought, perhaps, I should have been more prepared.

Luckily though, my second practicum was not too bad, indeed, I have to admit the teachers in this school were very supportive and I had a wonderful time teaching and communicating with the students and staffs there. Well, I wish I had spent more time teaching in this school to gain better strategies, overall. My suggestion for future practicum teachers is that it is essential to completely be free of all other commitments while doing your teaching practicum. This is  because the amount of time teachers spent on lesson planning  and doing other tasks related to teaching requires maximum time management with ‘stress free’ situation. I wasn’t so lucky in this as I experienced a lot of stressful moments with family commitments, etc. I was unable to juggle too many commitments at one time. A lesson to be learned.

In my journey towards obtaining the tertiary qualification, I met many individuals, both interesting and awful. I only want to mention about the good hearted individuals who understood what it means to be human. Bernie Howit was the first lecturer at UNSW who I regard as my mentor due to his deep concern for humanity and helping others. Above than this he was the one who took time to listen to me when I had problems with my teaching practicum. He taught me the importance of ‘reflection’. Trust me -No other lecturers will be painstakingly ringing me over the phone while attending a conference.  Bernie is also well liked by all other students at the Uni.  I can never forget Bernie’s phrase, which he emailed me when I was feeling down, just to keep me motivated and stay focused, he wrote- “every situation is one we can learn from, it’s just that some come with more pain than others”. This phrase always reminds me of being strong and not to give up.

As a matured student, I believe that I did a fantastic job by taking the challenges of tertiary studies. To encourage and motivate my effort, individuals like Bernie, makes a huge difference in my life. Without doubt, a little bit of support goes a long way. I am glad to start my blog by mentioning a person who had made me feel better in my  journey towards becoming a teacher.



7 thoughts on “My journey into teaching in Sydney

  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences Shanti! Well done on starting your professional blog. Remember that you may not have supportive people in your immediate environment at school, but there are many more just waiting to connect with you in our global teaching community.

    • Oh dear! Matt, this is not possible without your help. Though, I had initially thought of starting a teaching blog, it didn’t really materialize due to lack of time-usual excuse. Ha ha, finally, this is happening with your support.
      Thanks heaps. Chat with you soon.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to share. Your blog reminded me of two things….
    1. The practicum experience is still the most defining aspect of teacher training, and
    2. All teachers have a role to play to support practicum teachers.
    I am glad your Uni lecturer, Bernie, provided that support.

    • Hi Greg,

      Yes, you’re absolutely right. Stepping into a new environment is so daunting and getting the much needed support is essentially important.
      One element that I will always treasure is the experience that comes with the teaching practice; be it positive or negative, it made me to be stronger as a person and get on with the career that I choose.
      Thanks for your precise summary.

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